Artwork by renowned artist J. R. Lancaster of Bluff will be exhibited in this year’s Upcycled Art Party at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, where Lancaster is the featured artist in November. [Courtesy photo]

The Upcycled Art Party has added quirky refreshments to this year’s art event – a toast bar with fresh sourdough bread and an array of gourmet dips for spreading on the toast. The bread is being donated by Kiki’s Kitchen, and the dips created by local chef Sarah Perez-Sanz.

The second annual party and art exhibit that features both functional and fine art made from recycled, salvaged or repurposed items, will be held at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 6 to 10 p.m. Some of the pieces will be for sale.

The event’s featured artist, J.R. Lancaster, is a photographer, painter, sculptor, and installation artist with 74 exhibitions around the country. He’s also the Moab Arts and Recreation Center’s November artist of the month. Lancaster’s pieces in the Upcycled exhibit are all made from found objects, including those from nature.

“He’s an amazing, critically acclaimed artist, and we’re excited to have him,” said Serah Mead, co-founder and co-director of Third Space Moab, an organization that offers free workshops and events that support low-cost or free do-it-yourself art. “He uses natural clays that he applies to the canvas; it dries beautifully, and then he adds natural pigments to create vibrant and highly textured compositions.”

Third Space is collaborating with Canyonlands Community Recycling in organizing the Upcycled Art Party, which is also a fundraiser for the two groups.

“We’re excited to partner with CCR, as (the event) is a great alignment of our mission,” to spur creativity, resourcefulness and diverting stuff away from the waste stream, Mead said.

The event includes a room of vendors – professional Moab artists who often use recycled materials in their artwork – artists such as Chad Niehaus, who does linoleum printing on various surfaces, including old sheets and pillowcases, and other salvaged materials.

Some of the artwork will be functional. For example, there’s a woman who takes old knit caps and turns them into purses and bags, by adding other repurposed items as well.

There’s also a community art contest where locals will compete for prizes in four different categories, including “best of show,” “most unique,” “silliest/ weirdest” and “best use of recycled materials.” Party-goers will vote for their favorite pieces.

Last year’s Upcycled Party inspired students in the BEACON Afterschool Program to construct a float for the Christmas Light Parade all from recycled materials, said Claire Core, a member of CCR’s board of directors.

“This year (Grand County Middle School) students are going to make wearable, upcycled musical outfits,” Core said.

The students’ wearable artwork is inspired by artist Nick Cave, who has made and exhibited dozens of “soundsuits” or “large wearable musical instruments” made from salvaged and recycled materials.

Students from Helen M. Knight Elementary, Moab Charter School and the BEACON Afterschool Program will also show artwork at the party-exhibit.

Additionally, the evening will include a performance by Moab Taiko Dan, a group that performs traditional-style Japanese drumming.

“It’s an amazing, amazing performance,” Mead said.

The nonprofit Canyonlands Community Recycling was formed more than 20 years ago as Moab’s first recycling center. When the county took over the recycling program, CCR became an educational nonprofit to promote sustainability.

“The Upcycled Art Party fits well with our (CCR) mission of educating and providing people with ideas for incorporating sustainability,” into their lives, Core said.

“(It’s) a celebration of ingenuity and creativity of people in our community – for reimagining our resources,” Core said. “It’s a really fun, family-friendly and interesting event.”

Annual art exhibit features pieces made from recycled materials

When: Saturday, Nov. 21, from 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North

Cost: Sliding scale of $5 to $10